Argentina is such a diverse and intriguing nation that has so much to offer. Its cosmopolitan cities, rich culture and beautiful scenery all combine to make this country a traveller’s hot spot. From exploring the mountains and glaciers in the South to admiring the North’s spectacular waterfalls and deserts, it is a country that will offer you an unforgettable adventure. With so much to do in Argentina this feature gives you a little insight into the parts you can’t afford to miss.
There is no place better to start than at the country’s capital, Buenos Aires. There is no question that this city has now become one of South America’s finest as it welcomes travellers from all over the world with open arms. Exhilarating tango shows, great cuisine, beautiful buildings and a buzzing nightlife are just a few of the things you can expect from Buenos Aires.
A flying visit to this city is simply not possible. To experience all that it has to offer you need to spend closer to a week absorbing its atmospheric neighbourhoods. Days can be spent walking around street markets and bustling plazas before retreating to the nearest restaurant for some of the country’s finest steak and red wine. All this before heading into the night as you watch a tango performance or local football match and party long into the morning in one of the city’s hip bars. Locals refer to Buenos Aires as the city that never sleeps and there aren’t many travellers who will disagree.
One of Argentina’s most spectacular sights can be found right in the Northeast of the country bordering Brazil. Parque Nacional Iguazu is home to the Iguazu Falls, an impressive collection of waterfalls that will captivate you for hours. The Falls are second only to the Victoria Falls in size and are one of those sites in life which when witnessing makes you feel insignificant as an individual as you give way to nature. The force of these waterfalls can be appreciated best if you get up close to Devil’s Throat, the main waterfall in Iguazu, getting soaked in the process. Also it is worth looking out for alligators and monkeys as you walk along the boardwalk through the rainforest, admiring each unique view of the various waterfalls on offer.
For anyone who appreciates fine wine then Mendoza in the centre of the country is the place to be. This city is located right in the heart of some of the country’s best vineyards and is an area largely known for producing excellent red wines. The city itself offers very little but once you get out and explore the wineries around it you start to understand why so many travellers choose to visit here. Also near Mendoza is the impressive Cerro Aconcagua, the western hemispheres highest summit and Puente del Inca. It is here where a natural stone bridge spanning the Rio Mendoza is situated and underneath this bridge remains the ruins of an old spa which is now home to sulphurous thermal springs.
With several bottles of red wine in tow it is now time to head further south to the city of Bariloche in the Lake District. This city is perfectly located next to the stunning Lago Nahuel Huapi and its surrounding mountains. This area is a place of real beauty. However is known for being quite touristy at times thanks to its street filled souvenir shops and lots of opportunities for activities in the surrounding mountains. But don’t let this put you off, it still remains a lovely stop off point and is definitely worth a visit. The surrounding villages of San Martin de los Andes and Villa la Angostura also boast beautiful scenery and charming little streets.
Patagonia is probably the country’s most visually stunning area with its snow-capped mountains and sprawling glaciers. This area attracts thousands of hikers each year with great opportunities to explore Patagonia’s beauty on foot. If you do enjoy walking then the sleepy village of El Chalten is a must. Set in a picturesque river valley it sits at the foot of the Fitz Roy Range and the towering peak of Cerro Fitz Roy. If you are lucky with the weather and have clear blue skies then El Chalten really is a pocket of natural beauty. It has an abundance of scenic walks to enjoy as you stroll alongside forests and lakes soaking in the whole experience.
The other main draw to Patagonia is the Perito Moreno Glacier. This is best accessed from the small yet touristy town of El Calafate which despite its amount of passing travellers remains rather charming. The glacier however is the main attraction and is one of very few glaciers in the world which is still advancing. The sheer size of it is quite extraordinary as you watch huge shards of ice fall of the surface of the glacier and into the water below, making a huge cracking noise in the process. Despite the cold temperatures you could easily spend several hours admiring this incredible site and listening out for more ice to fall.
Right at Argentina’s most southerly tip is Tierra del Fuego. Another area offering plenty of natural beauty and Ushuaia, the region’s largest city, is the southernmost city in the world and the main gateway to Antarctica. Ushuaia is stunningly located next to the Beagle Channel and has a great backdrop onto the Fuegan Andes Peaks. Whilst there is a lot to do around the city, the city itself hasn’t got much going for it other than the main attraction of being at ‘the edge of the world.’ There are ample opportunities here for more adventurous travellers, with skiing, hiking and trekking available.
Other main cities of note to visit in Argentina are Rosario and Cordoba. Both cities are largely known for their big universities and for that reason offer some great nightlife. Rosario’s biggest claim to fame is that it is the birthplace of the iconic Che Guevara but its main attraction is the impressive Monument to the Flag, built in memory of the creator of the Argentine flag. Cordoba has no real sites of any great importance to tantalise tourists but remains a nice city and a good stop off point on your journey. Previously named the Cultural Capital of the Americas it always has something going on that is likely to intrigue you.
Argentina combines the very best of Latin culture and European design to bring together a country ready to welcome travellers from all parts of the world. The Argentines are a friendly bunch and the country still remains one of South America’s most safe destinations. So if you head to Argentina with the view to embrace new experiences, it could well turn out to be the trip of a lifetime.